156 S. Murphy Avenue,
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Previous Names: Empire Theatre
This theatre was a nickelodeon. It was a re-naming of an earlier theater, the Empire Theatre, which opened in 1911. Certainly ‘Strand’ was not a name which proliferated across America until after the mammoth Strand Theatre opened on Times Square in 1914. The Sunnyvale Strand Theatre was located in a one story commercial building housing two establishments behind a single facade. The theatre was in the space on the right, and in the space to the left was a drug store. The theatre had an arched front, with the upper half of the arched opening filled with a stained glass transom window reading ‘Strand’, under which was a row of lightbulbs. There was a substantial ticket lobby, open to the street, lined with poster frames. A simple craftsman style corbeled wooden cornice ran along the top of the building’s facade, visually linking the two establishments. The theater closed when the ‘New’ Strand opened c.1926, at 146-148 South Murphy Avenue. Both buildings survive today.
The space which once housed the ‘old’ Strand Theatre later became a bar. A photo taken in about 1980 shows the name of the bar to be El Nuevo Curimeo. The former drug store had been converted to a small grocery store by this time. The original cornice running along the top of the building was still intact at that time and remained so well into the 1990’s. Today, with its entire facade completely remodeled, the former Strand Theatre houses Fibbar MaGee’s Irish pub.
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